Road trip: Into the Arctic

VOMAC2008_209sI have long been a Volvo fan. My first car was a Volvo (343) and I have had several Volvo’s over the past decades. Volvo is proudly Swedish. So when I got an invite from the Swedish Volvo Owners Club to join one of their events in the Arctic I only hesitated shortly. I asked my father to join me and together we registered for a 4 day Arctic driving experience. To add some more Scandinavian fun, we decided to drive up to Northern Sweden via Denmark and Sweden, but return via Finland, after crossing the frozen Gulf of Bothnia by ferry. We would visit the cities of Vaasa and Helsinki and return by another ferry over the Baltic Sea. An epic European road trip in the Arctic winter! So here it goes: Continue reading

Social Media in the Arctic: #SoMeT14EU

Rovaniemi_Finland_April2014_008It was during the first days of spring. Those days when you can finally open the doors and get out the garden furniture, to enjoy sitting outside to catch those first rays of sun of the new summer season. Exactly on that day I got on board a plane to bring me back to the heart of winter. With the fresh spring still in my head I landed at Helsinki airport to catch another plane to get me to the Arctic Circle. Minimum temperature for Rovaniemi was forecasted to be -15°C that evening. Why had the conference organizers picked exactly this remote and cold location? Continue reading

Rovaniemi: Gateway to the Arctic

Rovaniemi_Finland_Mar2013_003Have you ever wondered what would happen if you mail a letter simply addressed ‘Santa Claus, North Pole’? I am sure many kids do, looking at the thousands of letters and postcards, that are collected at Santa’s Post Office in Rovaniemi, Finland. These letters generally end up here, at a large collection of buildings, right on the Arctic Circle. The central building, next to the post office, is the official home of Santa Claus, who can be visited year-round. It is one of the top attractions of this attractive modern city, which literally is the gateway to the Arctic.

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40 Years of Ferries

DFDS Seaways Prince of Scandinavia modelI blame this shipmodel on board the DFDS ‘Princess Seaways’. I saw it at the deck 6 lounge of this modern ferry a few weeks ago. It is a scale model of the “Prince of Scandinavia”, a 1975-built ferry that sailed for DFDS Seaways from 1981 to 2003. One of my oldest childhood holiday memories is of this ship, which was originally registered as MS ‘Tor Britannia’, sailing for Tor Line in 1979. I still have a postcard that I got on board that ship, as an eight year old kid.

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Shades of Green, Aurora Hunting in Finland

Aurora Hunt Finland 2013 13It is that time of year again. Or better said, it is that time of 11 years again. This winter marks the solar maximum, at which solar activity is at the highest point in its 11-year cycle. The astrophysics behind this phenomenum is very interesting, but the effects of solar activity here on Earth are much more interesting. At Solar Max the display of Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis around the Arctic Circles is at its most spectacular. This magical aerial show is on many people’s bucket list, so last year I organized a special Aurora hunting trip for my social media followers, better known as #AuroraTweetup. Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Pyhä-Luosto Lapland 2013

Winterhike Luosto Finland 2013 33The annual Arctic winterhike took us to the Pyhä-Luosto National Park in Lapland, an area that we started exploring back in 2009. This park is one of the southernmost Arctic tundra plains. Southernmost is relative, it is still located 100 kilometers North of the Arctic Circle. To reach it we fly from Amsterdam via Helsinki to Rovaniemi. There we take the skibus to the Luosto ski resort, on the foot of the ‘Tunturi’, the treeless hills that form the National Park. We spend the first night in a very comfortable and typical Lappish cabin, which is part of the the Luostotunturi Hotel.
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Winterhike blog – Kilpisjärvi 2011

“Don’t go in the mountains!”

Extreme koude onder het Noorderlicht op 69˚N

Winterhike2011_0321SFins/Noors Lapland 10 t/m 15 febuari 2011 – Dit was de meest noordelijke en koudste tocht van tot nog toe. Via Oslo reisden we naar de Noorse havenstad Tromsø, vanwaar we met de bus naar het Finse Kilpisjärvi gingen. Vanuit deze kleine nederzetting trokken we een van de grootste Arctische hoogvlakten van Lapland op, richting Noorwegen. Op zo’n 500 meter hoogte sliepen we in tenten en bivakzakken onder het Noorderlicht. Het is in februari langer donker dan licht, maar we hebben de zon zeker wel gezien. ‘s Nachts daalden de temperaturen tot rond -35C. Een echte uitdaging! Continue reading

Winterhike blog – Fins Lapland 2010

Noorderlicht, iglo’s en een kouderecord op 68.5˚N

De meest noordelijke tocht van tot nog toe. Een lange vliegtocht via Helsinki naar de noordelijkste luchthaven van Finland in Ivalo en daarna nog een half uurtje per auto naar het Wilderness Hotel in Nellim, op 10 kilometer van de Russische grens. Voor het eerst op ski’s, voor het eerst met de bedoeling in een zelfgebouwde iglo te slapen. Dus daar stonden we voor een donker hotel, met rugzak op wankele cross-country ski’s en de gezamenlijke spullen in de pulka. Continue reading